An announcement was already expected anytime soon, but ATR has finally revealed its plans for a next-generation turboprop aircraft with new, sustainable technologies. Called the ATR EVO, the aircraft will only be launched in 2023. ATR unveils next-gen EVO turboprop.
At a first glance, the EVO looks very similar to the tried and tested high-wing, T-tail turboprop concept. It is based on the latest 72-600. ATR tells AirInsight that the dimensions are the same: “We want to keep the same dimensions, the same primary structure as much as possible because it’s already very efficient.” The wing will remain almost unchanged as well except for a few updates.
The biggest step is to come from a new generation of engines. Only last November, ATR launched the updated Pratt & Whitney PW-127XT that will be available from next year. For the EVO, it has issued requests for proposals to engine makers for a next-generation engine that must have hybrid capabilities in combination with current technology.
“At first, the idea of this hybrid capability is to have a mild hybridation with a thermal engine and a battery and an electrical motor to tackle specific phases of the flight (mainly take-off and end of climb) to ensure further optimisation. But the idea is to be future-proof, so the powerplant will be designed so as to be able to evolve from one energy to another when hydrogen is available.”
ATR will offer the EVO with 100 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Also part of the engine is an improved propeller design with eight blades.
When using pure SAF, CO2 emissions of the EVO should be down to almost zero or fifty percent lower when using blended SAF. Fuel consumption should be twenty percent lower compared to current engines.
ATR plans to offer the EVO with enhanced avionics systems and a new cabin that uses bio-based, renewable materials. Maintenance costs will be down by twenty percent. Together with reduced fuel costs, this should allow airlines to operate the EVO profitably even on routes with low demand.
ATR said in February it was working on on a new-generation aircraft. With more work still to be done, including discussions with airlines and engine, ATR says it targets entry into service of the EVO “before 2030.” A spokesperson is more specific and says “2028-2029.”
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.